Posted: 6:00 p.m. Saturday, March 16, 2013
At the time this post is being written, we don't know what will become of Dashon Goldson testing the free-agent waters. The 49ers chose not to apply the franchise tag to their starting free safety, who's said to be seeking upwards of $8M per year. Combine this with some sub-par secondary play in the post-season, and it's clear that the team should consider finding a safety of the future.
Should they choose to look to the draft to fill the role, there are some good options to consider. We've already profiled Jonathan Cyprien, Matt Elam, and Phillip Thomas, but allow me to add yet another guy to the list: Eric Reid, formerly of LSU.
Height: 6'1 1/4"
Vertical Jump: 40.5"
Broad Jump: 11'2"
Bench Reps: 17
2012: 91 tackles, 7 passes broken up, 2 INT. First and Second Team All-American, SEC Academic Honor Roll, All-SEC First Team.
Doing your homework:
Check out all of Reid's cut-ups on DraftBreakdown.com, including the game against Mississippi State embedded below. One thing to note when watching safeties is that not all plays given-up were the responsibility of the guy you're watching. If it's 2-deep, plays to one side of the field are the responsibility of the safety on that side only.
Why he fits the 49ers:
Reid is an experienced, disciplined safety who reads his keys and is usually in the right place to make a play or prevent a reception. He's not afraid to tackle, though he does need to work on his technique there. He shadows running backs and displays good feel in zone coverage. Though he doesn't appear elite as a free safety, at any rate he'd certainly be a good prospect to replace Donte Whitner with a much better feel in the passing game to go along with more length and jumping ability.
Why he might not fit the 49ers:
Reid played single-high (isolated deep safety) often enough for LSU, but he might be a better SS prospect at the next level. He doesn't appear to have elite ball skills or range, though he does an adequate job and perhaps could improve with coaching and reps.
What they're saying:
Eric Reid drives me absolutely mad. In some contests he is the best player on the field and in some he can be a liability. However when he is on his game, he is a top 15 talent. He hits like a linebacker but runs like a defensive back.
If he was there in the 2nd round, then I would find it hard to pass up. He is just a talented guy who needs to be coached up.
Compares To: LaRon Landry, FS, New York Jets -- Reid signed with LSU patterning his game after the former Tigers' standout and it shows in his physique and bone-jarring hits. Of concern to scouts is the fact that Reid, like Landry, is a bit stiff and not as fast on the field in deep coverage as he may test during workouts.
Reid certainly isn't a guy I'd feel good about in the first or early 2nd round, personally. I'd much rather see him taken with the 62nd pick or later. I still think he may be better off as a "mirror" safety, more of a strong who can play deep at times to keep offenses guessing as to who's the box and who's the free in a single-high look. He'd certainly be an upgrade to Whitner once he has the NFL game down, but I'm not sure if he's a starting free safety who could replace Goldson.